Darling VT #1
by Donna Alward
Published on February 7, 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
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A kiss to last a lifetime
Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.
Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?
What? I’m reviewing a contemporary novel? This is craziness right here. But I have to say that while this genre isn’t my usual cup of tea, I found Somebody Like You to be quite an enjoyable read. This book spoke to my own small-town background and some of the moments I imagined happening where I live in all too vivid detail.
This is my first read of Alward’s work and I really liked the writing style. It’s one of the first things I tend to focus on because I’m either hooked or I’m not. There’s just not much of an in-between, but Alward found that sweet spot. I can’t say it was a can’t-stop-reading type of book but I didn’t continually put it down out of boredom or anything of that nature.
The characters certainly helped with that. I liked that both had seen a bit of life and weren’t rushing headfirst into the romance (it was more of the love than lust in this case) but the chemistry was definitely there. I love a good enemies-to-lovers tale and though Laurel and Aiden had history, this was where they left off and the romance was definitely not going to move forward smoothly without rebuilding that trust and friendship. There were traits of each character that I wasn’t a fan, especially in regards to Laurel, but by the end of the book they didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment.
Aiden was my favorite of the pair. He makes mistakes and he’s not all serious. But there’s more to him than what meets the eye and he stuck with the romance no matter what Laurel threw at him. She has a lot of baggage coming back to town and it’s made trusting others much harder so she needed to overcome that. At times, some of the things she did annoyed me a bit but overall I think they were a good pair.
Now I didn’t get sucked into the touching, heartfelt-type scenes in this one though I don’t think it had anything to do with the writing so much as I just wasn’t invested as fully into the story. Somebody Like You is a sweet romance, if I had to describe it simply. You get the small town charm mixed with characters that have history, and there’s going to be some drama in the mix. It was nice. I wouldn’t call it steamy if that’s what you’re looking for.
What really works here is that this book features a variety of characters in a familiar setting that allows any reader to feel they have a place in the world. I think Alward’s writing style played a huge role in that homey feeling.
For my first real contemporary romance, I would consider this a success. Somebody Like You is filled with small town life and the drama that ensues, along with a sweet, emotional romance any fan of the genre will enjoy.